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UNF Spinnaker

Lend-A-Wing food pantry limits students to weekly shopping trips

Starting last week, UNF students were limited to weekly visits to the Lend-A-Wing food pantry, which previously allowed daily shopping trips.

The statement on their social media said that because Lend-A-Wing is a donation-based service, this change was necessary to accommodate its growing number of users.

Student Government, which runs the pantry, said it has seen over 12,000 visits and distributed over 100,000 items since the beginning of the fiscal year last July.

“We are anticipating these numbers to continue to grow from year to year as we build this program to be more accessible and reliable for students experiencing hunger,” said Lend-A-Wing Advisor Madison Smith.

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Students used to be able to take only two items from each category, but SG made these limits more flexible when the weekly limitation was introduced.

“We are anticipating this change will allow students to obtain the items they need in one shopping trip rather than spaced out several times through their busy week. We plan to ensure students have access to all the resources they need. The mission and service of Lend-A-Wing stays the same,” Smith said.

Students used to be limited to two items from each category, but with the new weekly shopping limit, Lend-A-Wing Advisor Madison Smith said this would be more flexible. (Mallory Pace)

Jalen Echenique was the director of Lend-A-Wing for the 2022-23 academic year. He said increasing these limits was a good idea, and the pantry had been considering changing them for a while.

“I don’t think it will harm students at all. I think overall, [more flexible limits] are beneficial to help students maximize the amount of stuff they’re receiving,” he said.

Melania Currie, a senior studying child psychology, said Lend-A-Wing has helped her save money on groceries during her time at UNF.

During her freshman year, she didn’t know Lend-A-Wing existed but mostly used her meal plan to get food.

Now, she’s in her senior year and visits three times a week. She said she uses the extra money on textbooks and other educational expenses.

Currie is still worried these changes will cause her to run low on money, but she said she understands the pantry’s decision and hopes they can continue to serve all UNF students who need it.

“I do understand why they did it. I’m pretty sure they’re a non-profit, and they’re just getting donations as they keep coming,” Currie said.

Echenique said he believes Lend-A-Wing will still be able to accomplish its mission of helping food-insecure students at UNF, but it’s a trial-and-error process.

Smith added that SG continues to monitor the pantry’s usage and is open to student feedback regarding the changes.

“As a student resource, we are continuously looking to improve the student experience to the best of our means,” she said.

Lend-A-Wing encourages students to utilize the other community resources linked on their website, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Feeding Northeast Florida.

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Jeanne Gilbert
Jeanne Gilbert, Editor-in-Chief
Jeanne Gilbert is Spinnaker's current editor-in-chief and a sophomore majoring in public relations at the University of North Florida. She joined Spinnaker in the summer of 2023 as a volunteer. After graduating, Jeanne plans to continue in the newsroom or work in public relations.
Mallory Pace
Mallory Pace, News Editor
Mallory Pace is a fourth-year journalism major at the University of North Florida minoring in marketing. First joining Spinnaker in 2022 as a volunteer, she later became the government reporter and then Spinnaker's news editor. Leaving Spinnaker after the summer 2023 semester, Mallory is pursuing her passion for writing with an internship at Folio and is expected to graduate at the end of the semester.

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